OGDEN — A trial is under way for one of three men accused of riding in a motorboat when it severed a swimmer's legs and killed the woman, a University of Utah scientist.
Prosecutors laid out their case Monday against Skyler Shepherd, 22, the boat owner who told police another defendant was driving when it hit Esther Fujimoto on Aug. 21, 2011, at Pineview Reservoir, seven miles east of Ogden.
Shepherd told authorities he took the wheel to circle back to the swimmer. The boaters have said they left the woman in the water after she reported she was OK. A medical examiner determined Fujimoto died from propeller wounds.
Fujimoto, 49, was part of a U. team that identified a breast cancer gene. More recently, she was seeking a cure for cerebral palsy. Her family has sued the three men for wrongful death, claiming in court records they were drinking and smoking marijuana when they hit her several hundred feet from shore.
The defendants' lawyers counter that Fujimoto was negligent for swimming in open water.
A separate trial will be held in February for Colton Raines, 23, and Robert Cole Boyer, 30. All three defendants face misdemeanor charges of obstructing justice, reckless endangerment and failing to render aid.
Shepherd's trial got under way Monday amid speculation he might blame another defendant for the fatal accident. His lawyer, Glen Neeley, raised that possibility in a court motion seeking a separate trial for Shepherd. Prosecutors didn't object.
- Jury orders Siegfried and Jensen to pay...
- Which U.S. cities are the best for upward...
- IRS commits to not target tax-exempt status...
- Wanted Layton man dies in New Mexico plane crash
- LDS Church relationship with Boy Scouts in...
- Doug Robinson: Weber State track coach isn't...
- Alleged sexual abuser on the run for 17 years...
- Motley Crue concert delayed about two hours...
- LDS Church relationship with Boy Scouts... 302
- Boy Scouts in Utah, nation face... 141
- LDS Church 're-evaluating' Scouting... 109
- Profane and acclaimed: 'The Book of... 77
- Most Utahns oppose Supreme Court ruling... 68
- Lee takes on new strategy in fight... 46
- IRS commits to not target tax-exempt... 46
- Is report on building prison in Draper... 36